I’m Just Not That Into Him (As a Friend)—How Do I Gently Shut Him Down?
“Think of yourself as Beyoncé, or Lin-Manuel Miranda: Everyone wants to be friends with them, and that’s not possible.”
Here’s an odd one: How do you shut down a guy who wants to be your friend, but you don’t reciprocate? There’s this guy I very casually knew from college (I am also a guy, for the record), and we keep bumping into each other on the street. He invites me out to stuff relatively often, but I have no interest in being friends with him. I don’t respond to his texts or calls, but he never gets the hint and keeps trying.
Is there any way to let this guy down politely? I want to stress, he’s not stalking me. But every few months he’ll send another text or message me on Facebook asking if I want to go to something, and he’s been doing this for years.
It’s not you, it’s me! I’m not ready for a relationship right now! I don’t see you that way! I have a boyfriend! I have a girlfriend! I’m part of a closed polyamorous triad! I have Ebola!
You might say, “Hey, I’m not sure if you have me on a group list for these invites or if they’re just for me! If it’s the former I don’t feel bad not responding, but if not, I’m just pretty busy these days in general, so although it’s great to hear from you, I’m just not looking to get together right now.” (This feels SO RUDE to me to type out, but it isn’t, not really, and can be a great gift to those who prefer clarity in their social interactions instead of the fog of war under which we operate so much of the time.)
Nicole Cliffe was the co-founder of The Toast. She has written for The Guardian, Slate, NY Magazine, and ELLE.com.
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